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tv   Ayman  MSNBC  February 25, 2024 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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good evening, and welcome to ayman. tonight, all about that base. -- listen to what south carolina just told him, then he should give a dam about more than just the maga faithful. and if trump gets back to the white house, get ready for a country run by christian nationalists. again, that's the voters allow it. plus, they were born into war, but where they now? an exclusive report on the premature babies at al-shifa hospital and the ongoing fight to save their lives. i'm ayman mohyeldin, let's do it. there's no two ways about it. former president donald trump
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won big last night, cruising to a comfortable 20 point victory over nikki haley in the south carolina gop primary. the margin was so great that the coke network has reportedly halting spending on haley's campaign. trump crashed his sole remaining republican rival in her home state, no less. but you wouldn't necessarily realize that if you only watched his relatively insult free remarks last night. in his victory speech, with trump notably did not mention nikki haley, instead sticking to gop unity and focusing on the general election. it is all part of what his advisors described as a post south carolina pivot. according to nine top trump aides and allies who spoke to nbc news, trump's campaign will increasingly attempt to pan to broader themes in order to appeal to moderates ahead of super tuesday and november. now believe me when i say that the trump team desperately needs to stick to this pivot, because while yes, trump prevailed in his palmetto state
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victory, his performance also highlighted some major warning signs for him in the campaign. as 5:30 aides g elliott morris pointed out, if president joe biden was winning only 60% in a primary as an incumbent, people would be freaking out. and perhaps even more worrying for the trump campaign according to an nbc news exit poll, well -- primary voters in south carolina who identify as very conservative voted for trump, he only managed to secure 58% of somewhat conservative voters. and a mere 26% of moderate or liberal voters. now that should be an all hands on deck code red problem for the trump campaign and the gop if they want to win back the white house. because in the end, he actually needs those exact voters outside of his maga base to try and defeat joe biden in the 2024 election. joining me now to discuss all of this are susan del percio,
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republican strategist, and then msnbc political analyst, and an -- democratic pollster and executive vice president and principal of ben dickson -- international. it's great to have you both with us. susan, i'll start with you. it depends on how you read last night, right? objectively, it was a pretty good night for donald trump by how much he defeated nikki haley by. but you also have to think that with a potential pivot to the general election, it's a worrying sign for him to see who showed up and who voted for him. because somehow, he actually poorly performed with moderates and liberals that he's going to need if he's going to win in 2024. >> it's absolutely right, ayman. and when you look at the 2020 election, moving to 2024, both biden and trump need every single vote that they got in the previous election. the difference is with donald trump, he is literally turning
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people away. and that's much harder to get back than where you are looking at joe biden, or people aren't as enthusiastic. you can bring that enthusiasm back to up. you can't bring up our numbers for people you have completely turned off. and that's what donald trump has done thus far. let's not forget. he's been very clear. this campaign is about retribution. and i think a lot of americans out there don't want to hear that. they want to campaign about this country. >> we are hearing all about this posts are carolina pivot from the trump team. the so-called moderate pit. but you just have to go back to friday to see his address to the black conservative federation. from state to his indictments and his mugshot should appeal to black americans. and let's be clear here. he suggested, in effect, that criminality as somehow inherently appealing to black voters. or perhaps, gives him some traction with black voters. your reaction to that so-called
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reach out, if you will. >> well, first off, ayman, donald trump is incapable of anything that's described as a pivot or anything normal in politics or presidential politics for that matter. he's a sociopath. he's a pathological liar and a malignant narcissist. so what he's going to do is do what he's been doing, and what he thinks was successful for him in the past, which is talk about himself, attack, criticize, go after everyone, you know, whether it's immigrants poisoning the blood of america, coming out against obamacare, which is gotten more enrollment over the last three years than ever before, or any of these other very unacceptable extreme points. taking credit for the abolition and the overturning of roe v. wade. i don't think a pivot is on the landscape. and like susan said earlier, i actually see great weakness in these results in south carolina. when you have only 60% of republican -- what should be
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base voters going for you, he's not gonna be able to grow that coalition. and eamon, that's why you see forces in the trump campaign, rather than focusing on this nonsensical pivot for a sociopath, are instead looking at the third party candidates. their calculus for how they win this election is to demonize biden, or at least tried to demonize him, and inflate these third-party alternatives. because -- 47% of the vote. >> so susan, if -- 2020 playbook, and let's assume it is joe biden versus -- if you take the playbook of 2020, and it being the same, with all things being equal, it was a very slim margin. i know that in the overall popular vote, it was a huge win. huge win. but the margin in the electoral vote that he won those states by, michigan, pennsylvania,
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rather slim. does donald trump simply hope that he can convert, you know, at reach to a couple of those states that he barely lost in 2024? or does he actually have to fundamentally change, which i don't think he can, who he really is to try and appeal to independent and moderate voters? >> no, donald trump is never gonna change. that's for sure. but to freeman's point, the third party candidates -- we've seen poll after poll, when you add them in the decision process, it hurts joe biden. and i think that's just a really good point about trump. his only way of winning is to demonize biden into pushing away some of his voters. but there's also one other thing that could hurt biden. republicans and independents for biden, in 2020, with the lincoln project, those republicans who really -- maybe
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they voted for trump in 2016. but in 2020, they said, oh my gosh, he's horrible. i don't like joe biden, but i'll vote for him. now, the back out there, and they really don't like either one. they're never voting for donald trump. but if there is a plausible alternative to joe biden, they'll consider it. and that slim, slim margin that you talked about, those 5% of republicans that flipped to joe biden in 2020. >> that brings me to this earlier today on fox news, fernand. and sticking on the theme of this so-called third party -- national director said that his group is, quote, definitely interested in having nikki haley as that candidate if and when she drops out of the race for the gop nomination. do you think, a, that is something that she is considering, and given just what we've been discussing, how where should joe biden be? >> okay. two things here. number one, i hope everybody in
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america's listening closely right now. number one, no labels is a scam. that's designed to try to help the trump campaign and trump get elected into office again. that's number one. number two, nikki haley is going to endorse donald trump. i know it may seem contrary to what everybody is thinking, certainly contrary to what she's been saying. but at some point soon, she is going to come around and do it every republican who hopes to have a feature in the republican party does. and it's gonna have to bend the knee and kiss the ring. and that's coming, ayman, that's coming very soon. >> and i'm gonna say to our viewers, fernand has been right on the show before. we have the receipts. we're gonna hold this type, but we'll have fernand back when she does endorsed on a trump. i do believe you're right on that. but susan, a similar question to you. again, this big party is the greatest risk. and there's nothing joe biden can do when it is, as fernand suggests, and as others have suggested, i kind of sigh of,
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if you will, by the trump campaign. they want to encourage that third-party candidacy because they know it would hurt biden more so than it would hurt him. what's the strategy? how do democrats counter that? how do you run against it? even if it's not nikki haley. we know it's not gonna be a joe manchin, but if they insist, if they persist with this approach, how do you message counter it? >> well, what do you have to do is, frankly, do what donald trump did in 2016 and 2020. find more voters who support your cause. unregistered voters now, make them registered, and get them to the polls. joe biden needs to keep his turnout as high as 2020, and improve upon it. now, he has had some unfortunate luck with his base not being that excited. but that's what he's doing right now. and i'm happy he's out there and using the vice president as a great messenger for young people, for women's issues, to get the base motivated to vote.
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but they really have to also start looking for some new voters. >> all right. susan, fernand, stick around. we have more to discuss with you after the break. just ahead, theocracy over democracy. there is growing concern about donald trump and his allies, who are embracing christian nationalism, and what it means for our country. means for our country. - was that necessary? - no. neither is a blown weekend. with paycom, employees do their own payroll so you can fix problems before they become problems. - hmm! get paycom and make the unnecessary, unnecessary. - see you down the line.
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hello dad, hello dad, hello da. uh-oh. good bunnies. ahh! the left is trying to shame
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christians. they tried to shame us -- i'm a very proud christian, actually. we have to bring back christianity in this country. the voices of evangelical people and evangelists. no one will be touching the cross of christ under the trump administration. >> those were just some of donald trump's unhinged remarks at a christian media convention in nashville this week. this guy who said that his favorite bible verse was, wait for it, to corinthians. -- could be a movie trailer for what's to come if he was in fact reelected. according to politico, the president for the center of renewing america is leading an effort to infuse a second trump term with christian nationalism. he's also advising the infamous project 25 plan -- closely aligned with christian nationalists william wolfe -- who advocates for same-sex
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marriage and reducing access to contraceptives. joining me now is paul butler, nbc legal analyst, susan and fernand are back with me as well. -- great to have you here. so, we like to think of our country as a secular country, with religion not having a role in our government, and certainly not in our law making. but walk us through, constitutionally, here, the risk of a trump administration that is so committed to this idea of christian nationalism and what it could portend for our country. >> so the first amendment to the constitution specifically refers to religion into parts. it says that the government can't establish an official state religion. these white nationalist christians don't like that part so much. another part of the first amendment, which they do like, says that the faithful came to be restricted from exercising their religion and ways that are unreasonable.
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so the question right has use that to try to successfully overturn roe v. wade. they're trying to overturn marriage equality. they're trying to get more restrictions unconscious options. and they're even trying to limit the number of non- christians who can legally immigrate to the united states. so some of this has already happened. trump's muslim ban. so what he could do, if he is reelected, is really scary. he's thinking about using the insurrection act. you know, we've talked a lot about the section three of the 14th amendment in the context of the challenge to trump being on the ballot in colorado. and everybody knows now that part of the 14th amendment seems kind of ambiguous, and it was written for a specific period of time. -- insurrection act. it gives the power -- the president raw powers to deploy the united states military, to clamp down on civil unrest. it's not real specific.
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in its earlier term, trump threatened to use that against black lives matter protesters, and now he's threatening to use that to basically instill a theocracy in the united states of america. >> and correct me if i'm wrong, but one of the safeguards that we always thought we had is perhaps an independent judiciary that woodsy would something someone like trump tries to do, and say, that's illegal under our constitution. -- stacking the courts, these christian conservative, extremely conservative judges, like we saw alabama with the recent decision about ivf, and embryos being considered as babies, and overturning roe v. wade, you start to lose that safeguard, which protects us and our religious liberties. >> exactly right, ayman. to call it a right-wing master plan isn't being to conspiratorial. it's exactly what happened. so it's been this long term, very successful campaign by the fire right to get this
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religious ideology enshrined and u.s. law. the alabama case decided last week's are remarkable example of how successful -- when you read that opinion, which is really about when life begins, it doesn't talk about science, or even legal precedent. the chief justices of the -- supreme court literally hinges the opinion on the concern that alabama's might incur the wrath of god. >> susan, this isn't just trump or russell. it's not just one or two people. this is becoming a major part and pattern, if you will, of the gop leaning towards this christian extremism. and they're all on the aquatic push. >> they are. but i will say with the exception of the muslim ban on immigration, donald trump doesn't care about any of this. and that's what truly scares me. he can have the right running lease if he's elected, doing
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whatever they want. because he's gonna be more concerned about his retribution and going after people he seems wrong to him. so you're gonna have the base, this group, i want to say the christian right, but whoever he appoints into the white house to deal with these issues, they're gonna be running their own show. completely. without any oversight. because the president doesn't care. the former president doesn't care. >> let me pick up, fernand, on something -- mentioned. another part of this that -- brought up is invoking the insurrection act on day one if trump's turn is needed to quash protests and -- spend authorized congressional funds on unwanted projects. and it's a practice banned by lawmakers, really, in the nixon area. -- who has cited as a potential chief of staff for trump, talk to me about how alarming it is that someone who could
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potentially occupy this gatekeeper role to the white house have this much influence -- >> well it's as alarming as seeing nazis hang out at cpac this weekend without any problem whatsoever. are people at cpac saying that they're there to end to american democracy. so of course all of this staff that would be around trump's of the ultimate existential concern. but i think it needs to be stated why they're doing this. remember, at the heart of the base are these christian evangelicals, and one of the things that might just be done from maggie's perspective, and the leadership of macro maga, it's the place a loyalty higher than that of country and the constitution. so by presenting trump as this mess ionic figure, speaking in apocalyptic terms, where he is more powerful and more important, set by god to in essence fix the ails of america
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and american society, they are counting on that message to engage the christian right, and the evangelical community. so they put their loyalty to trump and god before our constitution and country. i think it is the most heinous threat, and it is the largest domestic threat you could possibly think of ida any point in our country, right now. it's happening. >> paul, how could this christian nationalism pushed by republicans and by trump open the oppression of other religious minorities in this country? open the gate for the oppression of other religious minorities in this country? >> i want to echo what we just heard. right now, it's happening. we don't have to talk about conditional, what could. we can look at what's happening right now, where the supreme court has allowed a football coach to lead his players and a secular prayer. the supreme court has also allowed public funding of private religious schools. so this is going on right now. the only thing that trump would
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do is make it much worse. i do feel the need, if we're talking about christiane a day, to make it clear that this is a specific white christiane eddy. there are a lot of african american and latinx people who don't endorse this u of christianity at all. >> we're talking about a very specific strain of christian nationalism, and letting it permeate into our politics and decision-making processes. >> how could they let donald trump, of all people, be the leader of this? it just makes no sense. >> that's the point i was gonna say. there's a november poll that shows 60% of republicans say trump is a person of faith. joe biden, 13% for him. and it's mind-boggling, to your point, that anyone would consider donald trump a man of faith. but i'm not here to judge that. paul, my friend, great to see you. susan, fernand, great to see you. thanks for being here. but stick around, we have more
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to discuss. up next -- charged with allegedly lying about the bidens. who is alexander smirnoff, and how did he end up here? he end wetjet absorbs and locks grime deep inside. look at that! swiffer wetjet. mucinex nightshift fights your worst night-time symptoms, so you can get to sleep and wake up ready to go. how could you? ( ♪♪ ) wake up to a new you. with mucinex nightshift, it's not cold & flu season, it's always comeback season.
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by now, you know how they arrest of former fbi informant alexander smirnoff has utterly imploded the yearlong house republican impeachment push. but the real question is, how did we get here? and how did the house gop eagerly fall hook, line, and sinker for this guy? well, let's start at the beginning. according to court records, smirnov first stated working for the fbi as a confidential human source, or an informant, back in 2010. he would reportedly speak nearly daily with his handler for years to follow, providing key information for criminal investigations. and let's fast for it. much of 2017, early in the trump administration, first reports making contact with
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executives. -- there was a, quote, brief, non relevant mention of hunter biden during a conversation. this is memorialized an fbi form called a 10:23, which agencies to record unverified reporting from informants. years later, in may 2020, smirnov allegedly texts his fbi handling that joe biden was going to jail. this reportedly comes out of nowhere. smirnov says he can obtain recordings of hunter biden telling burisma officials that his father would take care of the prosecutor general. a popular conspiracy theory at the time among -- pittsburgh- based u.s. attorney scott brady is asked by doj officials to help review information from the public relating to matters in ukraine. as part of that review, brady examines smirnov's 10:23 for
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him. when you first contacts smirnov, he makes his explosive allegations about the bidens, specifically that burisma executives admitted to him in 2015 and 2016 that they hired hunter biden to protect us through his dad from all kinds of problems. and if they had paid $5 million each biden. let's make something clear here. as soon as smirnov levied his allegations, the fbi was suspicious. first and foremost, because smirnov offered absolutely nothing to corroborate that claim. so they merely sit on it. but as you could imagine, word gets out and around in washington, d.c.. and once republicans catch wind of smirnov's claims, and four months afterwards in 2023, they push for the document with smirnov's allegations to be released, even though the fbi considered it to have been debunked. oversight chair james -- james cuomo even threatened to hold christopher wray in contempt of congress if the document was
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not released to lawmakers. after a great deal of wrangling, he allowed members of congress to privately viewed the document but not keep it. however, in july of 2023, iowa senator chuck grassley gets his hands on the copy of the fbi record that includes smirnov's false allegations. he proceeds to share it with republican colleagues and describes smirnov's claims to the public as, quote, very significant allegations from a trusted fbi informant, implicating then bright vice president joe biden in a criminal bribery scheme. his words. that, of course, supercharged is the republican impeachment effort. september 2023, then speaker kevin mccarthy announces the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into joe biden, declaring, quote, even a trusted fbi informant has alleged a bribe to the biden family. now that same month, the fbi halls smirnov into an interrogation room and presses him about his claims about the
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bidens. prosecutors say smirnov, quote, repeated some false claims, changed his story as to other of his claims, and promoted a new false narrative after he said that he met with russian officials. finally, that brings us to last week. when smirnov was arrested in las vegas after returning on an international flight, and charged with two counts of lying to the fbi. obviously, if house republicans had any sense of shame, any whatsoever, any decency, they would pack up their circus of a sham impeachment and call it a day. but you know what happens. they're not going to do that. in fact, just take a listen to this exchange between a reporter and chairman jim jordan. >> it is what it is. so, you can't change the fundamental facts. there are four fundamental facts. hunter biden gets put on the board of burisma, he's not
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qualified to be on the board, he gets put on that board and gets paid 1 million dollars a year. >> you say it doesn't change the facts. -- those are no longer true. >> the four things i just said? they're absolutely true. >> we'll be right back with much more on this with our panel. more on this with our panel. biktarvy is a complete, one-pill, once-a-day treatment used for h-i-v in many people whether you're 18 or 80. with one small pill, biktarvy fights h-i-v to help you get to undetectable—and stay there whether you're just starting or replacing your current treatment. research shows that taking h-i-v treatment as prescribed and getting to and staying undetectable prevents transmitting h-i-v through sex. serious side effects can occur, including kidney problems and kidney failure. rare, life-threatening side effects include a buildup of lactic acid and liver problems. do not take biktarvy if you take dofetilide or rifampin. tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines and supplements you take, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis. if you have hepatitis b do not stop taking biktarvy without talking to your healthcare provider.
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po, destiny calls for you to take the next step. biktarvy can go with you. [ achoo ] [ flatulence ] what is it you're holding? a cookie. ah! get ready to meet your match. skadoosh. stand back. i'm gonna kick my butt. it's not an exaggeration to say that this week, we learned that russian intelligence disinformation served as the basis, the actual foundation,
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of the house gop's yearlong impeachment push. what did the republicans know, and when did they know it? or as -- wrote for and b.c., were gop leaders played the full by russia, or where they in on their informants claims? susan del percio and fernand are back with me, joining the conversation. -- legal analyst and a formal federal prosecutor. it's good to have all of you with us. kyle, i start with you. it seems the fbi was wary of smirnov's claims for years, to say the least. and somehow, the gop basically duped all of us into asserting, all through 2023, that he was a highly trusted informant. how easy would it have been for house republicans to learn the truth, trust the fbi, and say this guy is not credible? >> yeah. where the republicans in league
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or incompetent? it's one of the other. and here's the thing. there's a lot to dislike, sort of every link of the chain here. first of all, the fbi writes down lots of things that human informants and confidential informants say. that doesn't mean it is necessarily true. yes, they record it in a form, 10:23. but they write it down. it doesn't mean it's verified, it doesn't mean it's accurate, it doesn't mean it's reliable. once they receive it, they have to go about the hard work of corroborating it, or debunking it. and it sounds like the fbi never corroborated, and indeed, ultimately debunked disinformation. so why this debunked russian disinformation would then be handed off to republican members of congress to be used as the basis to impeach an american president is mystifying, ayman. and look, let's use jim jordan as an example. you played a clip of him
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appearing to double down, even though he now knows it's russian disinformation. and smirnov has been indicted for lying to the fbi about the bidens. jim jordan is a serial abuser of his position and his authority. this is the guy who refused to comply with a lawfully issued congressional subpoena because, had he complied and testified, he might've incriminated donald trump. he would rather commit the crime of contempt of congress. this is the guy who weaponized congress to try to interfere in state court prosecutions and both new york and georgia to try to help donald trump stay out of hot water. is it any surprise that he's willing to take russian disinformation and weaponize it and use that against an american president? the question becomes, went to the institutions of government hold jim jordan accountable? >> absolutely. not a surprise that jim jordan has sunk to a new level. fernand, do you see any legal basis for the house republicans to continue this impeachment
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inquiry? >> none whatsoever. i mean, only the basis of trying to keep squeezing blood that doesn't exist out of a stone, and a dog that won't bark aren't. right now, the vodka and caviar are being passed around freely inside the kremlin. vladimir putin's greatest, you know, success and his history was putting awaiting, or unwitting, and i think he was waiting, russian asset in the presidency in 2016. that's only been topped by his takeover of the republican party, or is congressman clyburn put it earlier on msnbc, groups of putin. that's what's happening right now. they knew all along what was going on. this is not a good faith investigation. and ayman, the titular point here, the reality, is the republicans were planning on running in this election on four items. the economy, crime, immigration, and hunter biden. and one by one, by one, by one, all of those issues have blown up in their face. they have nothing left.
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and that is why i feel stronger and stronger that not only is joe biden going to be reelected, running against these clueless dunn's who have no governing plan whatsoever. i think it's gonna be a comfortable reelection in november. >> susan, i hear fernand's point, but looking at the current radicalization of the republican base -- liz cheney call the republicans in congress the putin wing of the republican party, probably on top of that list, someone like mike johnson and company, it seems that they can't afford to end this inquiry. their political careers, worshipping at the altar of donald trump, have now been staked on it. >> and here's the dangerous part about these republicans. they don't care if they're in the majority are not. normally, you'd see, at least the party with such a narrow margin would want to, you know, keep their majority. and be a little cautious. but no. this republican party, under jim jordan and marjorie taylor greene and matt gaetz, they
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just want to blow it all up. they have no interest and governing whatsoever. the impeachment of joe biden, those claims were already made before they even heard of this informant. so, where i go with this is the republicans are gonna lose the house. johnson is going to not be speaker. my guess is he won't even get to be leader in 2025. that being said, the danger that they are doing, the danger that this country isn't because of what they're doing. it's never-ending, it seems like. and they will not be held accountable until they no longer hold the subpoena power. >> glenn, before we go, talk about the charges smirnov is facing. how serious side by? and how long could he possibly be behind bars? >> yeah. one of the counts, the 1001
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charge for lying to the fbi carries five years. the second count carries up to 20. the sentencing -- statutory maximums. it was a little eyebrow raising, him in, when -- released by the magistrate on the same charges. but the moment i saw that he was arrested, i sort of instantly knew that there must of been a lawful basis for it. of course, there was. because the judge who will be presiding over the case, he sits atop the magistrate judge, who ordered smirnov released, basically countermanded the lower judges order, ordered the arrest. it was a lawful arrest. and, now we will see if there's any more information revealed, what additional documents may be unsealed when he's presented in court in california. >> all right. susan del percio, fernand, glenn kirschner, thank you to all of you. greatly appreciate it, as always. some images out of gaza that captured the world's attention.
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what happened to al-shifa's premature babies? happened to premature babies? - i got the cabin for three days. it's gonna be sweet! what? i'm 12 hours short. - have a fun weekend. - ♪ unnecessary action hero! unnecessary. ♪ - was that necessary? - no. neither is a blown weekend. with paycom, employees do their own payroll so you can fix problems before they become problems. - hmm! get paycom and make the unnecessary, unnecessary. - see you down the line.
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the al-shifa medical complex used to be gaza's premier hospital, before conditions they are deteriorated during the israel-hamas war. the israeli military surrounded and right in the hospital back in november, claiming hamas used al-shifa as a command center. and that same month, these images went viral of more than three dozen newborn babies, trapped inside the hospital. power losses made incubators unusable, forcing doctors to move the babies to a temperature controlled operating room. the babies were eventually evacuated. and a new nbc news digital documentary, the babies of al- shifa, the story of survival for gaza's youngest. nbc news correspondent -- mclaughlin takes us through the harlan journey of these babies, and their families. and here is a clip from that
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film. >> we were waiting for news at every moment. we could not confirm of a child was still alive, or dead. >> i lost contact with my child, and i did not see him for nearly 45 days. >> maybe -- parents rushed out of the hospital, hoping their son was among the rescued infants. they scanned the list of names, and there he was. -- >> life returns to us. >> many of the al-shifa babies were suffering from dehydration, sepsis, and hypothermia. with gaza's health care system overwhelmed, it was decided they would go to egypt for treatment. -- we're faced with an
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impossible choice. keep baby -- with them in a war zone, or send him to egypt, where he would be safer. because only mothers were allowed to accompany the babies across the border, they chose to stay together. >> he said, either we live together, or we die together. and we will accept what god has written for us. >> at this point, they were sheltering at a school in khan yunis. >> thank god we found him. i can't describe this happiness. >> most of the al-shifa babies
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were sent to egypt for care. two of those babies are -- twin daughter's. they were born premature, before the war. now, they are al-shifa survivors. -- is a new mom. the baby in the incubator is her daughter -- . -- has never touched her daughter -- until now. >> it's the first time i touched her. i was so scared. it's the first time i touched her hand, and the first time i touched her face.
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-- twin sister lianne is being treated in another part of the hospital. leigh ann is strong enough for her mother to hold her. >> did you think this moment will be possible? >> honestly, no. i never expected they would survive. i kept on crying that i found them alive. >> -- is the only mother here. >> when you see this row of babies without moms, what goes through your mind? >> who will raise them without a father and mother? who will raise them, and who will take care of them? what kind of care will they get when they returned to gaza? >> nbc news correspondent erin mclaughlin joins me now. just absolutely heartbreaking, and incredible -- in that moment, i got teary eyed there. it's just, i don't have words to describe it. but, just tell us, i mean how are these babies doing now. certainly we saw the ones in those clips -- who made their way to egypt, perhaps they are
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the lucky ones, and -- who stayed behind with his family now, in this situation? well -- are doing very well. they had been released from the hospital. they are staying with a relative and their mom in cairo. -- is a different story. you saw there, his parents make that incredibly difficult, horrifying decision, either let honest go to egypt alone, or keep the family together, and brave what comes in gaza. and, they aren't doing well. you saw them their take -- home to an encampment, a school turned shelter in khan yunis. they've since had to relocate, due to bombing in the area. they are now in a tent encampment in rafah. and -- is sick. we were speaking to his father last week, who said -- that has a hernia. he is in constant pain, he is on painkillers every day, they have tried all the hospitals in the area. it is a simple surgery, it should be an easy fix.
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there is not a hospital in southern gaza that can treat -- . and so every night, he is in pain, he is crying, he is not eating, and his father told us that he is afraid that they're going to lose him. >> do you have any sense, based on your reporting, just how widespread these types of stories are? i know we focused on these kids, because they captured the world's attention. but as you mentioned, hospitals and the health care system in gaza are completely overwhelmed, completely broken down. do you have any sense of just how widespread these accounts are? >> well it's impossible to say. all we have are these anecdotal stories. you know, the one baby, one of three babies that remain in southern gaza right now, is seriously ill, can't get formula, can't get food. his entire family is suffering. and a lot of babies are separated from their families, are orphaned. we profiled a baby named olena, that's his mother's name. they can't find his family. he right now is being treated in cairo. he wasn't al-shifa baby.
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you see him there, he lost his right eye, they don't know how. he was suffering from a rare bacterial infection, now he's doing much better. they are exploring plastic surgery options, but he still has no family. and according to unicef, there are 17,000 estimated children that are either separated from their family, or unaccompanied in gaza right now. >> i know you spoke -- to the mother that you profiled there, and we saw that clip. she is in egypt, and she raised the question, who will raise, them and how they will be taken care of. do we have any information about, you mentioned a relative. but, do they intend on returning to gaza at some point? did they ever tell you about what their long term plans, are and who will support them? >> in the documentary, -- said she definitely plans on returning to gaza. she does not want to be separate from her husband, and the rest of her family. as for the other baby's, five more mothers have come forward since the time that we were there in november. but the fact remains, nine babies are still unaccompanied,
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all alone in egypt. and it is unclear what will happen to them. we know that egyptian and palestinian authorities are looking for their families. >> all right, erin mclaughlin, thank you so much putting a spotlight on that. and hopefully we will keep tracking this story. but, incredible reporting, thank you. you can find the full nbc news digital documentary, the babies of al-shifa, the story of survival for gaza's youngest, on nbc or you can scan the qr code on your screen to watch right now. there is another hour of death ayman after a quick break, don't go anywhere. a quick brea, don't go anywhere. i love your dress. oh thanks! i splurged a little because liberty mutual customized my car insurance and i saved hundreds. that's great. i know, right? i've been telling everyone. baby: liberty. did you hear that? ty just said her first word. can you say “mama”? baby: liberty. can you say “auntie”? baby: liberty.
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